Fernando Alonso is hoping for a dry Qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday, with the Spaniard believing he can have a strong result if the rain holds off.
The Alpine F1 Team driver, who was recently confirmed to remain with the team for the 2022 Formula 1 season, ended tenth fastest in the first practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix on Friday morning but moved up to an excellent fourth in the afternoon.
Alonso feels the team have a good baseline with the set-up of their car and there is a believe they can qualify high up the grid on Saturday afternoon, providing it stays dry!
“It was an interesting Friday for sure,” said Alonso. “We were looking at the sky all morning and afternoon as it wasn’t a completely dry circuit to start both of the sessions.
“This impacted our day a little bit, but I think we have a good baseline for tomorrow. The weather will be the thing for us all to watch as it’s looking slightly unknown heading into qualifying. If it’s dry, I’m quite confident of a strong result.”
“Qualifying is tomorrow and that’s when it matters” – Esteban Ocon
Team-mate Esteban Ocon, the surprise winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix prior to the summer break, admitted it was a busy and often chaotic opening day at Spa-Francorchamps, particularly with the weather being unsettled across both sessions.
Ocon edged Alonso in the morning session by placing ninth, but the Frenchman ended seventh in the afternoon session, a session that saw him take a wild spin at Fagnes that saw him ruin a set of tyres.
The Frenchman feels Alpine seem to be competitive this weekend, but he knows the important Qualifying session is yet to come on Saturday afternoon.
“Firstly, it’s great to be back in the car after the summer break,” said Ocon. “Today has been busy and chaotic in all the ways possible with the weather conditions.
“It kept changing throughout the day, meaning we had to adapt to both damp and dry conditions. It was quite hard at the beginning as some areas were damp while some parts of the track were completely normal.
“I had a spin in FP2, but I was just pushing a bit to find the limit and it was slippery out there, but fortunately there was no damage done! Overall, though, we look quite competitive with similar characteristics to our performance last year, which is good news.
“Qualifying is tomorrow and that’s when it matters.”